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RIghteousness

I am a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian. For those outside of the church in my circle of influence, what does that mean? Is my Adventism identified simply by the day on which I attend church and the particular foods I do not eat? Sadly, for the majority of non-Adventists that have been a part of my life over the years, those two things are probably the main items that I've been associated with.

It seems that in our religion, a heavy emphasis is put on a future event, namely the Second Coming, and a disproportionate amount of emphasis is placed on preparing for that event. That is understandable as that is our heritage. Adventism was born out of the Great Disappointment and our church was formed in an environment where everyone was convinced that Christ would come in their lifetime. But one by one, the pioneers of our church have gone to sleep, and here we are almost 174 years after the Great Disappointment awaiting the soon coming of Jesus. In that time, we have become experts in bible prophecy and bible knowledge. We are arguably the most well-informed Christian denomination on the planet. But the question that has been weighing on my mind for quite some time now is how my beloved denomination impacts my life here and now. From a practical sense, how does it impact my day to day and the people that I come into contact with?

"In the story of the good Samaritan, Christ illustrates the nature of true religion. He shows that it consists not in systems, creeds, or rites, but in the performance of loving deeds, in bringing the greatest good to others, in genuine goodness." (Desire of Ages p. 497) Let that last phrase sink in for a minute; ..."bringing the greatest good to others, in genuine goodness." That's such a simple statement and yet one that is profound.

In Matthew 22, we find that the principle of God's law is love; love for God and love for man. "All this is but a fulfillment of the principle of the law,--the principle that is illustrated in the story of the good Samaritan, and made manifest in the life of Jesus. His character reveals the true significance of the law, and shows what is meant by loving our neighbor as ourselves. And when the children of God manifest mercy, kindness, and love toward all men, they also are witnessing to the character of the statutes of heaven. They are bearing the testimony to the fact that "the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul." Psalm 19:7. And whoever fails to manifest this love is breaking the law which he professes to revere. For the spirit we manifest toward our brethren declares what is our spirit toward God. The love of God in the heart is the only spring of love toward our neighbor. "If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" Beloved, "if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us." (1 John 4:20, 12; Desire of Ages p. 505)

The principle of God's law, His kingdom, and God Himself is love; the principle of righteousness. Love is simply righteousness in action. God wants us to embrace righteousness because righteousness leads to life and life to it's fullest. "I gave them My commands and taught them My laws, which bring life to anyone who obeys them." (Ezekiel 20:11) God wants us to be in harmony with His Law because He loves us and wants us to live. The fruits of righteousness is life.

We don't obey God and His law to prove our worthiness or because it is a test we must pass to earn salvation. "The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation merely--because he is required to do so--will never enter into the joy of obedience. He does not obey." (Christ's Object Lessons p. 97) We obey God by embracing righteousness and doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing. "True obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It springs from the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right--because right doing is pleasing to God." (Christ's Object Lessons p. 97,98)

Every day, I am a recipient of the marvelous grace of God. With each new sunrise, I am reminded that I am the beloved. "The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, 'The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!'" (Lamentations 3:22-24) How can my entire being not resonate and respond to the righteousness of God? As my cup overflows with His goodness, I am compelled to share this with with the world. I am obsessed with the righteousness of God and want to be an ambassador of righteousness to the world.

16 years ago, almost to the day, the love of God broke through this hard, darkened, selfish heart of mine. And with each passing day, my joy and love for my Savior grows. The things of this world always fades, but the glory of our God continues to increase in brightness. Truly we can enter into the joy of His kingdom here and now.

Let us strive to lift up righteousness for righteousness sake. Let us be a beacon of light in world that grows darker by the minute. Let us be a source of good to everyone and everything in our lives. "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16)

Jimmy Kim was the youth pastor at Atlanta Korean SDA Church from 2001-2011 and is currently the youth pastor at Marietta Korean SDA church since 2011. He is serving as Chair of Administration for the East Coast Korean Campmeeting English Division since 2011 and his passion is youth ministry. He is also a licensed chiropractor and is the owner/general manager of a real estate investment company.


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